Mark Lundy's lawyer has to pay for flights back to New
Zealand out of his own pocket despite the Crown spending more
than $40,000 fighting his appeal in London.
The Attorney-General denied legal aid funding for David
Hislop QC and Malcolm Birdling to prepare for the Privy
Council hearing to appeal against Lundy's convictions for
murdering his wife Christine and daughter Amber.
His convictions were quashed by the Law Lords and Mr Hislop,
based in London, now plans to return to New Zealand to
represent Lundy at a re-trial scheduled to be held in
Wellington in June.
But he will have to pay for the return flights himself,
despite legal aid being approved for the second trial, which
could last up to eight weeks.
Figures released to the Herald show the Crown Law Office
spent $33,703 on return flights for three lawyers arguing to
uphold Lundy's convictions at the Privy Council hearing last
June, while accommodation for the three day hearing in London
cost another $8247.
Ross Burns, until recently a senior Crown prosecutor in
Auckland, has joined the Lundy defence team and confirmed Mr
Hislop would pay his own way from the United Kingdom.
"We've been granted legal aid but that won't cover his fares
to come back. I think the reason for that is he's not a New
Zealand-based lawyer, so I can understand why that hasn't
been funded," said Mr Burns.
"So he's had to cough up a bit out of his own pocket."
While taxpayer-funded legal aid was declined by
Attorney-General Chris Finlayson QC for the Privy Council
appeal, funding is approved for the double murder retrial.
This was at the standard rate of $159 an hour for Mr Hislop,
Mr Burns, Dr Birdling - who was staying in the United Kingdom
- as well as Julie Anne Kincaid, another former Crown
prosecutor in Auckland.
Mr Burns said the defence team had to present the Justice
Ministry with a "case plan" to get pre-approval for time
spent on preparation for the trial and other court
Flights from Auckland to Wellington for court hearings were
also paid for, as well as an accommodation allowance.
The legal aid bill for Lundy's first trial was around
A spokesman for Mr Finlayson confirmed legal aid funding for
the Privy Council was refused on the basis of a legal opinion
of Philip Morgan QC, who is now leading the Crown case
- Jimmy Ellingham of APNZ and Jared Savage of the New